SINGAPORE — I’m not entirely sure what possessed me to review Carrotsticks & Cravings’ third outfit after their two branches at Dempsey and Robertson Quay—coincidentally, two places in Singapore where destination dining is a real thing. To start, I’ve never heard of the restaurant before, though, to be fair, they do exist slightly under the radar of Singapore’s vibrant clean-food scene. Can you blame them? It’s not hard to find oneself lost in the chorus of gluten-free/vegan/dairy-free/nut-free/keto/paleo/low carb/organic joints that have made a home on this island at the back of a populace concerned with what they put in their body. That, plus, the yoga-gym people need somewhere to go to eat, congregate, and soak in life, you know. After all, what good are all that F45 sessions if you’re going to stuff yourself silly with Hokkien Mee, right?
Expect a lot of your-body-is-your-temple type of food here if you do come for a visit. And you should. For one, it’s much more convenient to reach than its two other outfits. Secondly, they have chocolate desserts that won’t make you hate yourself. But more on that later. If you’re coming here with a friend, get the Stanley Breakfast for 2 (S$46+), some Keto Coffee (S$8+) and call it a day. This hulking breakfast set looks like it demands Beyoncé’s dance crew to accompany its entrance. Heck, I’m sure even Beyoncé will like this.
It comes with a colourful and refreshing Israeli salad of tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, bell peppers, sourdough slices, labneh cheese, roasted eggplant with hummus, falafel, avocado with feta, cream cheese puff pastry, and your choice of smoked salmon or leg ham. It’s worth every cent you throw for a clean-eating experience and comes served with two eggs cooked in your preferred style. I had mine scrambled though not quite as runny as I’d have liked.
Carrotsticks and Cravings are opened by the same folks behind Miznon, which happens to be the unit next door. But unlike Miznon, the mise en scene, here designed by Isabel Maja, is bright, white, clean, pastel, and incredibly well-ventilated, which I know is a strange thing to acknowledge. Still, in a pandemic, ventilation is everything. There are seats outside, too, if fresh air is more up your alley.
Elsewhere, there’s a Red Shakshuka ($18+) served in a claypot (though clearly not cooked in one) with sourdough slices on the side. It’s a melange of spicy Mediterranean red sauce, EVOO, huge, beautiful chunks of tomatoes, topped with poached eggs and goat cheese. As far as a protein-filled dish goes, this one takes the cake (here, probably GF, V and DF, if you know what I mean).
I particularly liked it because it tastes like something someone will cook in a home kitchen. It’s indicative of a presentation that is simple, straightforward, fuss-free, and so immensely clean-tasting (down a shot each time I say clean). You get everything Shakshuka promises to give with overtures of tomatoes that lends an unashamed umami note to the entire presentation. Adding creamy eggs and even creamier goat cheese gives it a silky mouthfeel I never knew Shakshuka needed.
Were you waiting for the mandatory avocado on toast? Fine. Yes, there’s a Signature Smashed Avo ($18+) on the menu that will make every fitness influencer foam at their mouth. Legend has it that Carrotsticks and Cravings was the pioneer player in the market to put the avo and toast on their menu, paving the way for other purveyors keen to get a slice of that green on brown action.
Here, it comes with a poached egg on top, some crumbs of feta, a smattering of dukkah for texture, and a drizzle of herb oil, which frankly feels like an afterthought as opposed to a taste offering. At least it’s more culinarily creative than the usual avo toast offering, though I don’t think it would hurt to season the avocado a touch. “Salt?” I imagine a yoga practitioner screaming from one of the shophouses nearby mid-roll of her Yoga mat. “What are we? Common? Clean eating always!”
For something a little heartier but still incredibly clean-tasting, there’s the Dukkah Salmon ($28+) that has been crusted with Dukkah and flakes with ease. There’s a lot of things happening in this bowl, so bear with me. Salmon sits on a mound of brown rice, served with roasted pumpkin, asparagus, pomegranate, and rocket leaves. Everything in this has been seasoned lightly—I hope. It’s hard to tell because the bowl depends on naturally-occurring flavours of each ingredient to flavour the presentation—mildly. Pumpkin and pomegranate lend sweetness; asparagus gives a good dose of crunch, lemon adds acidity and brightness. Even though I’m not by any means on a diet, eating this makes me feel like I’m on one. Thanks, Carrotsticks.
Desserts come by way of choices that your body will thank you profusely for. For something that will shock your soul into repentance, get the Keto Bomb ($3+), made with coconut oil, peanut butter, almond, cocoa, and, I reckon, a penchant for punishment. This is what you get for indulging in that large cup of Mr Coconut shake, Steve. It’s a concentrated bomb of dark chocolate that’s bitter, thick, and heavenly for people on a keto diet. I didn’t finish this. It’s much too real.
I did, however, finish the Peanut Butter Slice ($6+) easily. I think anything after the Keto Bomb and a hint of maple syrup sweetness would make me swoon. This square is made with almond meal, cocoa, dates, coconut oil, peanut butter, and dark chocolate, which means it’s indulgent, but in a healthy kind of way, like a diet version of a Snickers bar. It’s like most of the food on the menu—a diet version of something. So, will I be back? For sure. There’s an Açai bowl on the menu with my name on it, and if you’re going to start eating healthy, you really can’t go wrong with Carrotsticks and Cravings.
5 Stanley St, #01-01, S068724
Mon to Sun: 8am – 6pm